Sleeping is something I’ve always had problems with. I’m a light sleeper, and besides that, when my head hits the pillow at bedtime this does not mean an automatic entry into the dream-zone, it is more like a welcome mat to the thought-zone! The funny thing about sleep is that the more you think about it and try to get it, the harder it is to obtain! I’ve definitely had my fair of insomnia and it is not fun. I could teach a class on how to get the best zzz’s and maintain “good sleep hygiene” but I don’t actually want to write about sleep today. The thing that I want to share with you is related though, and something I’ve found to be super important to my life – REST!
What is rest? Google’s first answers to my search were all about a concept that is foreign to me – “In computing, representational state transfer (REST) is an architectural style used for web development.” Luckily the Mirriam-Webster definition also appeared. Some of the definitions I liked were “freedom from activity or labor”, “a place for resting or lodging”, “peace of mind or spirit”, and “something used for support”.
In the past, I used to live my life in a hurried mode, trying to get to the next level of achievement. I did not really take time to enjoy what I was doing, or do things because I truly enjoyed them. I just did things to be “the best”, which meant being at the top of everything I did. I hate saying that, but it is the truth. Whether it was school, sports, extra-curricular activities, and even relationships, I did whatever I could to be great at them. And that meant there was no time for rest!
You really cannot be the best at everything – it is not fun, and it is exhausting. Two years ago I found myself REALLY tired. And really depressed. I didn’t know who I was or what I truly loved doing. I was just doing things to be successful, and that definition was something that I let others (and the world) define for me.
Thanks to God, the power of prayer, my family, and friends, I started on a new journey of discovering me. Although I have been Christian since I was a child, the first step of this was finally understanding how much Jesus loves me. Once you recognize that love, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else says or thinks about you.
A song that really spoke to me is Francesca Batistelli’s He Knows My Name.
“He calls me chosen, free forgiven, wanted, child of the King,
His forever, held in treasure…
I am loved”
The awe that God knows my name has brought me to tears many times! Psalm 139 also spoke to me, especially – v.14 “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well”. Whenever I start to doubt, I just turn to that chapter and remind myself of the truth.
Living by myself was the next step of finding out who I really am. This gave me a lot more time to discover who I am, what I like doing, and make choices for me, and plans to become more of the person I want to be.
In November 2015, I took a 12 day trip to Costa Rica, my first solo adventure. This was one of the first trips where I made every decision myself based on what I wanted. Yes it was scary, and there was actually a point where I thought I was going to die (maybe I’ll blog about that later!), but it was exciting, fun, and gave me a sense of empowerment and independence. I lived out one of my favorite Bible verses – Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
On Thursday, I’m flying to Cancun to take my second solo vacation. At first I was upset that nobody wanted to come with me, but now I’m pretty stoked that I get to do whatever I want and whatever is best for me! I know that I need some rest, and so I’m allowing myself to take it. I need a break from my job, some time away from the daily grind, and some me time without the world’s distractions. Rest is important for my restoration, and I am looking forward to coming back feeling refreshed.
I hope that whoever you are, and wherever you are in life that you are giving yourself rest. Not only by relaxing and taking some time off, but also by giving yourself the benefit of doubt, cutting yourself some slack, and having grace on yourself. Show yourself some love – you deserve to rest. Today I can excitedly say that I love myself, and I am looking forward to another vacation with me!